Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Second to Last Night in Manhattan

High above Midtown West, the snow is still just barely floating, swirling in the sky, muffling the lights of Times Square. Wrung out by the work and flu, this jaded former Manhattanista gave way to her crunchy California persona, melted by the oohs and ahhs of her coworker at the snowfall. "It's so soft! Feel it!" cried aforementioned colleague, stopping on the way to dinner at a dingy corner of a building, stooping for handfuls, trying to form a snowball. It was so sweet.

So I'm glad my visit is coming to a close. I'm missing my dog and my husband and my cat and my Cadillac, not necessarily in that order. I'm wondering how the rose eyebuds are pushing their little antennae out of their hardened canes, if the tulips and iris and hyacinth are still on their way up and out. I heard it was a Paradisical 70 degrees at home yesterday. Work has been intense and constant this trip, as has my concern over M's health, but I've had a great time here:

On Thursday, a fine raucous dinner (and ill-advised martini) with colleagues celebrating the end of our first show at an old Italian restaurant four blocks from where I lived for years and never tried.

Leaving the restaurant, I thought my hoarseness was from laughing, but no--I was succumbing to the bug that was afflicting other members of my office. East coast clan, forgive me for visiting you in such a state!

On Friday, I checked out of the Waldorf in the morning and returned to the stomping ground of my glory days, the hallowed halls of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. Seeing it, inhaling that particular office smell again gave me such a feeling…that youthful hope that something really big might happen to me there, intertwined with that sense of intimidation I felt nearly every day I reported to the office. I've relived many of the missteps I took while working there, and often wondered how my life might've been different, if only…But it was wonderful seeing my friends who were still working there, still doing the same thing, but looking as though not a day had passed, much less a decade, looking better than they did if possible. We had takeout from one of my favorite restaurants, and it was miraculous to me that the curry soup tasted exactly the same to me as I remembered.

The lunch made me late for my art outing rendezvous with my aunt and uncle. We met up at the Cooper Hewitt, our "family" museum as my aunt says (we come from Hewitt stock). I had not done my homework, however, and the museum was between shows! We wandered down to the Guggenheim and were first a bit disappointed to see that they too were installing a new exhibit. But there were still a few ramps to enjoy, and we hung over the railing, watching the progress of the new installation which was very interesting. Artists were smacking slabs of clay onto wood and wire armatures with what looked like scrap wood, following photographs to create statues. I wondered if this process happened every time? Or was this exhibit going to be the only one, ever? We appreciated the behind the scenes look, and it was so un-museum-like--noisy and cluttered--which was refreshing (in small doses).

I checked into the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, worked some, then headed downtown to the West Village to dine at The Place with uncle, aunt, and cousins. It was the quintessential Village spot, down half a flight, fireplace, minimal lighting, close quarters. It was such a wonderful dinner and I so appreciated spending time with family I don't see often enough.

On Saturday I worked in the morning then met my cousin for lunch (late again! That's so not like me, really) down in the South Street Seaport area. We picked up half-price tickets for Spring Awakening, which I didn't know anything about, but I liked the prospect of surprise. We parted ways til dinner, and by then I was feeling too crappy to take pictures or relish much the Wall Street ambiance, but there it is.

But a rest and more work that afternoon put me in the mood to get out that evening. We dined on Japanese food in a lovely if overheated restaurant, then took our seats for the show. An incredible lack of legroom did not mar my enjoyment of the show. All those Tony awards didn't skew my expectations. Good staging, excellent music and singers, not so good book, my cousin and I agreed. I bought the soundtrack as a souvenir, I hope that lives up to my remembrance.

On Sunday I took a chance that Mariebelle in SoHo would be open by 11:00 a.m. How silly of me. The weather had cooled and I wandered nearly alone on the streets, cut by the wind, wondering how the price of street-bought pashmina shawls could have fallen since I'd been there, but I didn't complain as I tendered my sawbuck for three. A disappointing trip to Gourmet Garage, lunch at my cousins' place which was a nice way to say goodbye--it was as if I still lived here and just coming up for a visit…Then back to work. We started setting up our second show Sunday night, though my role was fairly limited, thank goodness. I had a new person starting (what a way to start a job!), so we had spicy Thai food for dinner and talked about the job for a few hours.

Yesterday and today was all about work. I've been feeling slowly better, but mornings have been foggy and it's been hard getting to the end of each day. The conference has been well received, which is a relief. One more day, and it hopefully will be an uneventful one.

Well, my second to last night is almost my last full day. Looking forward to a dinner with a friend tomorrow night, a last walkabout, then home.


At 6:04 AM, February 13, 2008, Blogger elm said...

Thank you for the descriptions of New York! I loved The Place 'ad'. How do you do that?

It was truly nice seeing you. You are so 'right there'. Well, if definitions of my word choices are needed, I could go on and on.

Anyway, we were happy to be with you for awhile! A.J.

At 8:17 AM, February 13, 2008, Blogger bren said...

What a great writer you are, my dear.

At 4:46 PM, February 13, 2008, Blogger Sara said...

It was so nice to see you. It did remind me of the days that you were just a short subway ride away.

At 4:43 PM, February 14, 2008, Blogger Ginny said...

This reminds us of our wonderful visits when you were a Manhattan resident. A unique experience and one we treasure! Thanks for your recreation.


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